Ben Oostdam story # 657


Once again, we had decided not to celebrate Thanksgivings -except in principle-
so like my initial sake Barack Obama, I saved cq pardoned a turkey, one only.
Thus I sat in my office scanning at 10:00 when grandson Parker sneaked in to do
his regular inspection round(s).

He found an empty moleskin journal
and asked if he could have it.
I told him: "I thought I already gave it
to you a few weeks ago..."
"Yes, but Oma took it away from me
because it was too expensive ..."
"Maybe she is right?"
"No, Opa, I will give you
a written promise!"

In the mean time I persuaded him
to use a blank piece of paper.
Within a few minutes he had gone
to ride his dirt bike and I found
this piece of art left on the table
Two relevant distractions apply:
(1) I used to tell the kids not to use
the term "dirt" for "soil", so I recall
Paul showing off his
"new dirt-sorry-OPA-soil-bike"
(2) Dutch Proverb:
"Elk waant zijn eigen
uil een valk te zijn"

(Everybody thinks his own
owl is a falcon)
get it?

In the mean time, Paul had
found on the MacBookAIR
a photo showing Parker on
the Penn Manor Website...
showing Eshleman students preparing
to ship socks to our soldiers
in Afghanistan!
I scanned on for a while,
till I heard Erika coming in
with Paul and Parker.
Santos got overly excited
and it took Mercia a while
to get the dog to lie down
so I could take this photo:

of course, Parker had to hide again, so we
asked him to take some photos, too,

in which Oma tried to strangle Opa
so we won't include them...

and the dog kept sleeping on

Paul came to my room to find out what I was doing.
I showed him the copy of his great-grandmother's
diary when she was 15
and had just met his great grandfather of 17...
and I asked Oma to come and read it to him.
It required not only translation,
but even more explanation
of the minds and mores of the kids of his age
almost one hundred years ago....
Paul also had a favor to ask: If we could kindly kick out our tenant
in the Garage Efficiency, so he and his friends could continue
the band practice they had started there last summer when the room was empty?
I tried to give him a lesson in economics and proper utilization but it fell on deaf ears.
So did my counter offer: that they could use the Pavilion once that was fixed up.
They could even help, on the "Do ut des" principle which I did not get a chance to explain.

Next we got into a bet for $ 50 that he would not be able to tell the states that
you have to pass through when you go from New York City to San Francisco.
Paul took the challenge and scribbled his results on a piece of scratch paper _
which unfortunately got lost in the ensuing quibble.
I had Paul reach for the Reader's Digest Atlas
so we could check his results.
I missed the very first state, New York, but he said that was
the same as New York, the City
Oma immediately sided with Paul - is she on a commission basis?
and the situation got tense.
He had all the other states right, so I paid him a check of $ 40
deducting $ 10 for New York.
In our litigious society, I might have objected to call PA a State
since it calls itself a Commonwealth.
That gave me the next idea, to bet Mercia 200 she could not name the three
or four Commonwealths in the USA....she asked "dollars?"
which was too smart for me so I cancelled the bet
She told the kids that such was the first sign of Altzheimer's,
when people get argumentative.

That reminded me that we still wanted to hear the kids'
comments on Hemingway's six word short story:
"For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn" ....
Earlier, when I told Erika, she laughed at it because her
first (and only) thought was that the Mother had received so many
baby shoes that she had never used them all.
I found that Paul agreed with Mercia and me,
(and probably Hemingway ipse): that the baby had died.

"And what do you think about the story, Parker?"
"It is lame," was his first response.
"Tell us why it is lame, please"
He thought deeply and then said self-assuredly:
"Nobody would want to read such a short story."

By thet time the Slaugh kids had to leave to have their Thanksgivings dinner
with Uncle Andrew and family. Erika went back to the Garage Apartment
to make the turkey dinner - to which Mercia and I had been kindly invited.
I finished some scans, including these:.

The Russians lost 15,000 soldiers
in that war.
But 30,000 Russia lives are lost
now each year from drugs mainly
imported from Afghanistan..

but, Sir, the "Titanic" did not turn around
Better luck was had by these guys!

But mainly I wrote this story, or its draft because I wanted it fresh in the mind.

Unfortunately, when I got
back from our delicious dinner,
the story had disappeared into
cyberspace, so this version
is just a stale reproduction
from an absent mind.

While we had dinner
we heard sirens and saw
lights flashing...

... but it was only later that evening
that we found out that our good friend
Steve's house had burned down...
Our sincere best wishes
to the Francis family

BLO fecit 20101128 - stories